As with lures and all other fishing equipment on the market, there are numerous types, colors, and sizes of fishing line available to anglers of all species. The overwhelming number of brands and line types can make choosing an appropriate fishing line difficult for the average consumer. In this article, we will break down the four most common types of fishing line and discuss their characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks.
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Monofilament Fishing Line
This line is the most common type of fishing line you will see on the shelves today. It is inexpensive, easy to manufacture, and versatile in its use. Mono is often sold in bulk spools for just a few dollars for hundreds of yards. Many anglers who don’t fuss about their line will be perfectly happy with any line that comes with their rod/reel combo (which is usually mono).
Mono is buoyant and is well suited for rigs that have floating components. This line also has some degree of stretchiness to it, which may or may not benefit your application. Some anglers believe that a line with low stretch will improve your chances of a positive hookset, and some believe that having some stretch will provide a buffer to prevent the hook from being pulled out of the fish’s mouth. The best way to test either theory is to try the line out for yourself and see if it works for your application.
If you have purchased a rod-reel combo and don’t want to worry yourself with the different line types, I would suggest sticking with the monofilament for now until you find a legitimate reason for switching. In most cases, monofilament will work well for most applications.
Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
The primary benefit of fluorocarbon line over monofilament is its increased invisibility underwater. It achieves this by having a refractive index that is closer to that of water. Monofilament has a slightly higher index that fluorocarbon which makes it more visible underwater. There is, however, the controversy surrounding the use of refractive index as a primary indicator for underwater line visibility. Ultimately, the line you choose should be a combination of desired characteristics instead of a single property such as invisibility.
There are many benefits to fluorocarbon line which command its higher price. You can use a heavier pound test for increased strength because of the invisible property of fluorocarbon. Because of its relatively high tensile strength, this type of fishing line can be used when fishing around heavy cover. The denser molecular structure of fluorocarbon line provides abrasion resistance and UV light protection. Plain monofilament line may be degraded with prolonged exposure to sunlight; fluorocarbon does not have this problem.
One potential drawback to fluorocarbon is its memory. When folded, curled, or kinked, this line tends to maintain its deformed shape which can potentially affect your lure’s presentation, as well as become more easily tangled around itself. In addition, pure fluorocarbon fishing line costs substantially more than monofilament or copolymer line, which may turn off many anglers on a budget.
Copolymer Fishing Line
Copolymer fishing line was produced to bridge the gap between those who wanted the economy factor of monofilament with the invisibility properties of fluorocarbon. By combining these two elements, a stronger and less visible (than plain mono) line is created which costs only a fraction more than monofilament.
I have found copolymer to be my personal favorite fishing line as it seems to break at a significantly higher weight than advertised and stretches just enough to give me confidence in my hooksets. It is also extremely easy to manipulate and tie knots with, which is excellent for those that like to re-tie different lures multiple times.
Copolymer line, like monofilament fishing line, has some stretchiness to it. I personally have found the stretchiness to be beneficial as it gives me the confidence that a positive hookset has been achieved. Often times after an initial hook set I apply a slight amount of additional pressure – utilizing the line’s stretch to ensure that the hook is buried.
If you are unsure about what line to purchase for general use, consider giving copolymer an honest try, as you get the best qualities from both types of transparent fishing line.
Braided Fishing Line
Braided fishing line is considered to be the ultimate in fishing line tensile strength. Braid is composed of several advanced fibers (some from reputable manufacturers such as Dupont and Gore) that have been braided into layers. Because of the braided configuration, a thinner line diameter can be had while achieving increased tensile strength. This makes casting lighter lures easier when using braid. For example, 30lb braided line can have an equivalent line diameter to 8lb mono, and braid can be found to be rated as high as 150lb test.
Braid is primarily used when bass fishing around very heavy cover. The strong line is necessary to extract a fish and any vegetation that becomes attached to it from a thick canopy of weeds or other aquatic plants. Be sure to use an appropriately strong rod to avoid breaking your rod.
The primary drawback to braided line is its visibility. Braid offers absolutely zero transparency, which means it is completely visible underwater and may turn away some wary fish. When fishing in highly pressured areas, it is recommended to attach a transparent leader (usually fluorocarbon) to the braid to hide the line.
Because of the textile composition of braid, it is very susceptible to abrasion from rough objects such as logs and stones. To combat this, braid manufacturers develop their own line coating that adds abrasion resistance and creates a smooth, low friction feeling which also helps with casting.
Because of the relatively rough texture and high strength of braided line, increased wear on your rod guides and possibly even your reel may be observed. Ensure your fishing reel and rod are approved for use with braid to avoid premature wear.
The ability to combine two different line types is a smart technique that can allow you to use a strong line such as braid while presenting the lure with a transparent leader to decrease underwater visibility. By tying a simple joining knot such as the double uni knot, you can, for example, attach a strong fluorocarbon leader to an even stronger braided line. In this way, you can have the casting and strength benefits of braid while having the abrasion resistance and transparency that fluorocarbon offers. Leader length can vary according to your application. If you plan on re-tying multiple lures, a longer leader will provide more line to tie with before you have to attach another leader to your main line. This can save time on the water which can be important when fishing at a rapid pace.
Occasionally leaders may cause issues when casting, especially when the leader is long and the knot is passed through the fishing rod guides. In some instances while using a baitcaster, the knot may hang up on one of the guides, causing a fairly severe backlash. This is a non-issue in spinning reels.
We hope you have learned a little bit about line selection by reading this article. If you haven’t already decided on a line and brand preference or are just unsure, ask your friends or people you come across fishing in your local lakes or streams and ask what they use. If they have had success with their line choice, chances are you will too.